Austrian Matt Wins Slalom as Finland Tops U.S. 5-0 in Hockey

Austria’s Mario Matt became the oldest Olympic Alpine skiing champion by winning the men’s slalom at the Sochi Winter Games, while the Finnish ice hockey team beat the U.S. 5-0 for the bronze medal.

The 34-year-old Austrian and teammate Marcel Hirscher took the top spots in the race, with Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen third. Several top skiers, including Andre Myhrer of Sweden and American Ted Ligety, crashed out on their second tries.

Last night’s victory lets Matt surpass Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who was 150 days younger when he won the men’s super giant slalom at the 2006 Games. At 19, Kristoffersen is the youngest-ever Olympic alpine skiing medalist.

In men’s hockey, the U.S. failed to score for a second consecutive game as the Finns won their fifth medal in the sport in the last six Olympics. American Patrick Kane, who plays for the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks, couldn’t convert two penalty shots as Finland’s Tuukka Rask, goalie for the NHL’s Boston Bruins, stopped all 27 attempts on goal.

The Americans, who haven’t won an Olympic medal outside North America since 1972, lost 1-0 to Canada the previous day.

“It was pretty demoralizing,” Zach Parise said of the 1-0 defeat. “We had to turn around and realize that there was actually a bronze medal on the line which is still a pretty big deal. But those two efforts were just not acceptable at this point.”

Doping Expulsions

The International Olympic Committee announced early this morning that a fourth athlete had been expelled from the Sochi Games after flunking a drug test.

The IOC said in a release that Ukraine cross-country skier Marina Lisogor tested positive for the presence of trimetazidine, a banned drug, and was excluded from the games.

That was the fourth doping case of the Sochi Olympics. Earlier, the IOC said that Latvian men’s ice hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs tested positive for methylhexaneamine, the same performance-enhancing drug that led to the expulsion of German women’s biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle earlier in the week. Italian bobsledder William Frullani also was sent home after failing a drug test.

Last Day

Today, the final day of the Sochi Games, features the last three of the 98 events held. Canada will play Sweden for the men’s ice hockey gold, and the men’s 50-kilometer cross-country skiing event and four-man bobsled final will also be held.

In other medal events yesterday, Marit Bjoergen won a record-tying sixth Olympic gold as Norway swept the top three spots in the women’s 30-kilometer cross-country skiing, and American-turned-Russian Vic Wild picked up his second snowboarding gold of the games.

The Dutch men shattered a record its skaters set in Vancouver in 2010 by more than 2 seconds while taking the gold in the team pursuit. The squad, which has dominated speedskating during this games, beat the Koreans by 3.14 seconds in the final, while Poland beat Canada for the bronze medal.

Dutch Dominance

The Dutch women’s squad then broke another record by 0.38 seconds while beating Poland for the gold medal. Russia took the bronze by overcoming Japan.

In women’s cross-country skiing, the 33-year-old Bjoergen finished in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 5.2 seconds, 2.6 seconds faster than teammate Therese Johaug, with another Norwegian, Kristin Stoermer Steira, in third. It was Norway’s first gold in the event, and made up for a disappointing fifth place in the women’s relay on Feb. 15.

“The athletes were disappointed after the relay,” Egil Kristiansen, the Norwegian coach, told reporters. “Many in that race who tried hard didn’t get a medal. Today was a lucky day. They were all disappointed about the relay, but we were done with it.”

Also yesterday, Austria and Germany each got two medals in snowboard slalom, where Wild collected his gold. The Russia men also won the biathlon relay, passing Germany in the last leg.

Bjoergen tied the six gold medals won by Soviet speedskater Lidia Skoblikova and Russian cross-country skier Lyobov Yegorova at the Olympic Winter Games. The medal is also her 10th in total, matching the women’s record of Italy’s Stefania Belmondo and the Soviet Union’s Raisa Smetanina, who both also won theirs in cross-country skiing.

Medal Standings

Russia now leads the medal standings with 29, two more than the U.S. The cross-country sweep pushed Norway into third place in the medal standings with 26, while Canada and the Netherlands have 24.

In the women’s snowboard slalom, Austria’s Julia Dujmovits edged Germany’s Anke Karstens in the final as Karstens’ teammate Amelie Koster took the bronze by beating Italy’s Corinna Boccacini.

In the men’s event, Wild, an American who took Russian citizenship in 2012, won his second gold of the Sochi Games, beating Slovenia’s Zan Kosir in the final as Austria’s Benjamin Karl defeated Italy’s Aaron March for the bronze.

“I was pretty nervous,” Wild told reporters. “The other day I didn’t think it was possible so I couldn’t dream that big. I wanted to go out and make people happy - more for the people in the stands than for me.”

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